Former Government Supplies Department Compound (The Oil Street Art Village)

12 Oil Street, North Point


A new lease of life

Architectural designer Gary Chang founded multidisciplinary studio EDGE Design Institute in 1994. Known for his innovative solutions to Hong Kong’s crowded living conditions, Chang uses adaptive and flexible space throughout the city and, when the Government Supplies Department vacated its North Point harbourfront premises in 1998, the warehouse was available on a short-term lease. Thanks to its convenient location and high ceilings, many designers, including Gary and his team, artists and non-profit organizations, took up the tenancy, and formed Hong Kong’s first artists’ village. It became an unofficial centre for contemporary art with low budgets, a short lead time and minimal government interference, a triumph for Hong Kong artists who have been able to organise art and cultural events at the grassroots level, reaching out to everyone nearby. By creating favourable conditions for the use of alternative space and adapting land use, although the lease only lasted for two years, the premises demonstrated how older or derelict buildings can be given a new lease of life. The Oil Street Art Village has indeed had a profound impact on Hong Kong's cultural development.  

Gary Chang

Gary Chang graduated from The University of Hong Kong in 1987 and founded EDGE in 1994. His projects range from large-scale urban, residential and commercial to cultural and private with a focus on dynamic spatial flexibility and redefinition of traditional boundaries. He is known for his commitment to the innovative exploration of modernism with tradition, preserving nature in an urban context and for adaptable and adaptive art. His award-winning multidisciplinary designs include Suitcase House at Commune by the Great Wall in Beijing, Hotel V Wan Chai and ACTS Rednaxela Serviced Apartments.

Gary Chang